Marilyn Sunderlin, an artist in Utah, takes dried gourds and turns them into colorful sculptures:
I carve the gourds with a high-speed carving/engraving tool that is powered by compressed air, which I purchased from Profitable Hobbies for the fine detail carving. I purchased the Optima II Plus carving tool from Treeline (The Woodcarvers Specialist), for larger and faster cuts. I can purchase different size burrs for both tools, so I can carve a wide variety of textures on my gourds. [...]
My favorite medium is oils, because they stay moist longer and allows more flexibility in blending the colors. I also use acrylics and wood stains. I have tried dyes, but prefer the wood stains to dyes. I use the acrylics for the inside of the gourd because it is so porous. Remember to use a wood sealer first on all carved areas before painting. This will help the paint to stay its true color.